FREDERICTON (GNB) – A platform is being established to allow patients to share their ideas and input about the province’s health-care system.

“During the public consultation sessions that helped us develop the new provincial health plan, we found patient concerns have not always been taken into account when making decisions,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “As we work toward the goals in our plan, we want to ensure we are supporting patient-centric changes and improvements.”

The new “patient voices network” will be overseen by the New Brunswick Health Council, a Crown corporation that reports publicly on the performance of the provincial health system and engages residents in the improvement of health services.

Stéphane Robichaud, the council’s chief executive officer, said he looks forward to the opportunity to provide a platform for a diverse group of New Brunswick patients to speak about their ideas and concerns.

“Our mandate is to engage with citizens in a meaningful dialogue to improve the quality of health services,” said Robichaud. “We are pleased to give New Brunswickers more of a say in their health care by establishing the patient voices network.”

In addition, the council’s role will expand to include progress reports with respect to goals in the health plan.

The plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action, outlines an initiative to provide the Horizon and Vitalité health networks with an accountability framework describing the roles and responsibilities of ministers and the regional health authorities.

To ensure the health-care system is accountable for its progress, the council will collaborate with the departments of Health and Social Development, regional health authorities, Extra-Mural/Ambulance New Brunswick and Service New Brunswick to finalize key performance indicators. The council will provide quarterly reports on the system’s progress beginning next April.

The council will also join other groups that currently govern standards, day-to-day operations, and performance reporting to identify the most effective model of governance.

Last week the provincial government released its new health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action. The plan outlines a path forward, intended to stabilize and rebuild New Brunswick’s health-care system to be more citizen-focused, accessible, accountable, inclusive and service-oriented.